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Fun; Safety Encouraged At Lakes

KSAL Staff - July 3, 2014 1:31 pm

lake sunset

Independence Day is one of the busiest holiday weekends at Kansas lakes and parks. Officials encourage visitors to have fun, stay safe, and look out for those around them.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, which oversees Kansas, hosts 15 million visits annually at its 18 lake projects where people enjoy fishing, boating, swimming and more. While outdoor recreation is fun and healthy, the corps urges all visitors to expect the unexpected and think about these four safety tips this Fourth of July.

Wear a life jacket
- 90 percent of those who drown at lakes and rivers may have survived if they had worn a life jacket.
- Drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death.
- Expect the unexpected. Accidents happen, even to responsible boaters. A life jacket can provide time for rescue. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBhrMdGoZ3g to see the impacts to a family as a result of life jackets not being worn.
- Know your swimming ability.
- Open water swimming is more difficult than in a pool because a person can tire more quickly.
- Conditions can change quickly in open water, especially where visibility is limited.
- Swim in designated areas and wear a life jacket. A life jacket will help conserve energy and provide flotation.

Be a “Water Watcher”
- When on or near the water, watch your children closely.
- A child can drown in 20 seconds.
- Recognize the signs of a drowning victim. Drowning happens quickly and quietly. The victim’s head will typically be back, gasping for air, and not yelling. Another typical sign is a person slapping the water as though trying to climb out of the water. 

Avoid exhaust fumes around boats
- Carbon monoxide, an invisible killer, can accumulate anywhere in or around boats regardless of what type of boat. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors on and inside your boat. Maintain a fresh circulation of air through and around your boat at all times. 
- Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness. Know the signs and stay alive. 
- Avoid areas around boats where exhaust fumes may be present. Do not allow friends to swim under or around the boarding platform where fumes can accumulate.

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